If you’re a fan of fiddle leaf figs and ficuses in general, you’ve probably heard of ficus Audrey, a beautiful relative to our beloved fiddle. If you’re looking to expand your indoor tree collection, ficus Audrey plant care is simple, and this tree will add a touch of grace and elegance to your home.
Ficus Audrey is also known as the strangler fig, bengal fig, and the banyan tree, and is the national tree of India. Its botanical name is Ficus benghalensis, and while ficus Audrey will remain quite tame-looking inside, in the wild, this striking tree grows long aerial roots that can reach from the canopy to the ground, which means this tree can become even wider than it is tall! (Impressive considering ficus Audrey can reach up to 100 feet tall outdoors!)
While this tree looks similar to a fiddle, its leaves tend to be rounder and more oblong, close to those of a rubber tree. The leaves also have a fun, fuzzy texture that you won’t find in many other houseplants! This gorgeous tree can add some variety in texture and shape to your houseplant collection.
Overall, many fiddle leaf fig care rules also apply to ficus Audrey. Here’s everything you need to know about ficus Audrey care!
How to Grow Audrey Ficus
How Easy Are Ficus Audrey to Grow?
Ficus Audrey is often considered slightly easier to grow than the fiddle leaf fig because it’s not quite as fussy with its water requirements as the fiddle, which tends to be sensitive to overwatering and prone to root rot.
Ficus Audrey can also be more flexible with its light needs, which is good news if you struggle to provide enough light for a fiddle leaf fig. If you’re looking for a beautiful indoor tree but are a little nervous to jump in with a fiddle leaf fig, this might be a good option!
If you’re an intermediate houseplant owner who understands how to provide proper light and water to a few different kinds of plants, you should have no trouble caring for ficus Audrey.
How to Germinate
The easiest way to propagate ficus Audrey is with cuttings.
Find a fairly young, fast-growing section of stem with a few healthy leaves and cut below the leaves, leaving at least an inch of stem. Make sure to wear gloves and have a towel ready to catch the sap that will flow when ficus Audrey is cut!
When you have your cutting, place in a glass container with clean water and rooting hormone and place in a bright place for a few months, changing out the water at least once a week. Soon you should see white buds on the stem that will grow into roots. When the roots are 2-3 inches long, you can plant your rooted cutting in soil.
You can also propagate ficus Audrey with air layering. To do this, locate a healthy stem and make a small, ¼-inch-deep incision on the stem using a clean knife or shears. (Again, wear gloves and use a towel to wipe away the irritating sap.) Wrap that section of stem loosely in damp sphagnum moss, cover in plastic wrap, and secure into a new little bundle. Every day spray the moss with water to keep it moist.
Within a few months, roots should start to grow from that incision. When the roots are a few inches long, you can cut the entire branch off just below the roots and plant in soil!
How to Train Ficus Audrey
Part of growing an indoor tree is cultivating the shape you want it to take. This tree can get unruly without a little help!
Make sure to rotate with each watering to encourage the tree to grow evenly, and prune any branches that throw the tree off balance, either visually or weightwise.
You may also need to encourage your tree to branch in certain areas if you’re going for a more treelike, lollipop shape than a bushy shape. To do this, pick where you’d like a branch to sprout and use a clean knife or shears to cut a ¼-inch notch in the trunk. (This technique is called notching, by the way. Fitting!)
Within a few weeks, you may see a bud forming that will start to grow into a branch! This technique only works about half of the time, though, so if you don’t see any progress after a few months, make a second incision near (but not right on top of) the first to try again.
Ficus Audrey Care
Here’s how to keep your ficus Audrey happy, healthy, and beautiful!
Potting and Soil
Choose a pot with drainage holes so your ficus Audrey’s soil can drain properly. The pot should also be 2-3 inches larger than your ficus’s root ball to give it a little room to grow, but not hold more water than the plant can actually use.
Make sure to plant your ficus Audrey in a light, well-aerated, fast-draining soil. Cactus soil with extra perlite mixed in can work well. Our Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Mix is also a perfect choice because, while it was specifically created for fiddles, it works well with all ficuses because they have such similar watering requirements. We highly recommend it for your ficus Audrey!
While not as fussy about watering as its sister, the ficus lyrata, ficus Audrey still prefers evenly moist soil that isn’t soaked or dried-out. (Though it won’t immediately drop leaves if the soil gets a little too wet or dry.)
In general, water your ficus Audrey when the top 2-3 inches of soil feel dry or when a moisture meter reads 3-4. Water thoroughly and let drain completely.
Pruning is important for keeping your ficus Audrey healthy and well-balanced. If you notice any diseased leaves, be sure to trim those off immediately with clean tools and gloves.
You may also need to prune from time to time to control the tree’s size and shape.
To prune, be sure to plan your cuts before you actually make them, especially if you’re pruning to shape your tree. Try marking the areas you want to cut with colored strings or ribbons before using clean shears to cut.
Keep in mind that if you take more than 10% of the leaves, your tree could experience shock, which could cause it to stop growing and droop for a few weeks, so you may want to prune in stages if you’re planning to make drastic changes.
Tip: When you prune, put down towels or a tarp to catch the sap, which can damage flooring.
You can propagate the healthy branches or leaves you cut to get even more ficus Audreys!
Light & Temperature
These are tropical trees, so they prefer plenty of bright, indirect sunlight, though they can tolerate lower light conditions than a fiddle. Place your ficus Audrey right in an east-facing window if possible. If that’s not an option, you can place it a few feet away from a south- or west-facing window so that it still gets plenty of bright light, but where the direct afternoon sun won’t scorch its leaves.
A north-facing window may not provide enough light for a ficus Audrey (unless you live in the southern hemisphere) so you may want to consider supplementing with a grow light if that’s your only option.
Ficus Audrey will be comfortable in most room temperatures, but don’t let temps fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit or rise above 85 degrees. Keep your Audrey away from drafts, air conditioning vents, fireplaces, and heaters.
Your ficus Audrey can use up all the nutrients in its pot within a few months, so use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer to provide the nutrients your tree needs to grow and thrive.
We recommend Fiddle Leaf Fig Food because it’s perfectly balanced for ficus species, including ficus Audrey. I also love that it’s gentle enough to use with each watering, so memorizing a fertilization schedule is completely unnecessary. This means your ficus Audrey will get the nutrients it needs with very little risk of over- or under-fertilizing!
Where to Buy Ficus Audrey Benghalensis
One of the only drawbacks to ficus Audrey is that it tends to be more expensive and harder to find than many other ficus species, like fiddle leaf fig or weeping fig. You probably won’t see this in the garden section of most home improvement stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, or IKEA, but it’s worth a call to your local nursery to see if they carry this beautiful tree.
Your best bet is to find a ficus Audrey online. You can always check eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or your local Craigslist. We also love buying plants from Etsy.
Here are our favorite shops for houseplants:
You can also buy from reputable sellers like Bloomscape.
If none of these sellers have a ficus Audrey, you may need to do some research to find a reputable online seller. A good rule of thumb is to Google what you’re looking for and look for independent reviews and ratings to make sure you’re working with a good grower or seller.
Tip: If you can’t find a ficus Audrey for sale, try searching for one of its other names, like Indian Banyan, strangling fig, bengal fig, or Ficus benghalensis and see if that yields better results.
If you aren’t able to find one, don’t give up! Check regularly, ask around, and you’ll find yourself a beautiful tree before long!
FAQ’s Ficus Benghalensis Tree
What is the difference between Indian banyan and ficus Audrey?
Nothing! These are actually different names for Ficus benghalensis. It’s often called the Indian banyan tree because it is the national tree of India, and it’s said that the Buddha sat beneath a banyan tree while he achieved enlightenment.
For houseplant purposes, they’re the exact same thing, so don’t fret if you see ficus Audrey listed under one of its other names.
Is ficus Audrey easier to care for than fiddle leaf fig?
Yes! Ficus Audrey is more flexible with its light and watering needs than fiddle leaf figs. While ficus Audrey still likes lots of bright, indirect sunlight and dislikes being over- or under-watered, if it’s unhappy, it won’t throw a fit or drop half of its leaves if you overwater once or twice. Many find ficus Audrey to be much more relaxed than its cousin, the fiddle, which has a reputation as a fussy tree.
If you’re frustrated with fiddles, give it a try!
What fertilizer is best for ficus Audrey?
We recommend Fiddle Leaf Fig Food for all species of ficus, but any well-balanced liquid fertilizer will do. Just make sure to carefully follow the directions on the bottle to prevent over- or under-fertilization.
What common ficus Audrey problems should I watch out for?
When your ficus Audrey is unhappy, the first place you’ll notice it is the leaves. Here are some of the most common issues to keep an eye out for:
Yellowing leaves: If you notice yellowing leaves near the bottom of the tree, make sure your soil isn’t too damp. If it feels wet days after you watered, your tree may be overwatered. If you notice yellow leaves all over the tree and the soil is dry, your tree may be under-watered. If the soil seems okay, your tree might want more light. Finally, if everything about your light and watering seems okay, your tree might have a nutrient deficiency and be in need of fertilizer.
Brown spots: Dry, crispy brown spots indicate that your tree is severely under-watered. Soft, dark brown spots lower on the tree can mean that your ficus Audrey is overwatered and may need to be repotted.
Insects: If you notice small dots or holes on the leaves, webbing, or sticky, clear residue, you might have an insect problem. Read this post to rid your Audrey or fiddle of pests: The Ultimate Guide to Fiddle Leaf Fig Insect Problems.
Drooping leaves: Your ficus Audrey might need a drink! If you recently moved or repotted your ficus Audrey, it might also be experiencing shock and should recover within a week or so with proper light and watering.
Give Ficus Audrey a Try!
Whether you want a slightly easier alternative to a fiddle leaf fig or to try your hand at another indoor tree, ficus Audrey is a great option!
Since ficus Audrey care is so similar to that of a fiddle leaf fig, try these resources to take the best possible care of your tree:
To learn more:
- Sign up for our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar or enroll in our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Course for advanced fiddle leaf fig care.
- Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter.
- Read The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now!
- Click to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.